Written by Ashley Carter
Does this sound familiar?
Mapping out how you plan to juggle a full class schedule while making it to your internship three times a week (on a quarter tank of gas), and finding funds to boost your net-worth by growing your network.
The need to put one eye toward job security comes graduation with the immediate stressors of classes, exams, and a host of educational expenses is why we have the “broke college student” stereotype.
One day the tassel will be worth the hassle, but for right now you may be facing limited time and limited budget to go to all the networking events and conferences on your bucket list. So instead, let’s strategize and get creative.
1. OPEN A SAVINGS ACCOUNT FOR professional development with an automatic draw
Take it from a PR student that lived in the suburbs. Traveling to the city for events isn’t always feasible. Start saving for events by opening a savings account strictly for your PR social life and sock away $10 a month toward online PR courses, conferences and mixers. Without even knowing it, you’ll have a nice bundle of cash to put toward your future self. Deploy this strategy to save your coins and reserve your seat at the table.
2. ASK NEW AND POTENTIAL CONNECTIONS FOR COFFEE
Most students work with a tight schedule. You will not make every networking event. Optimize and strategize your time by inviting a new or potential connection out for coffee — a savvy and exclusive way of getting the 411 on how that person began their career. Most events include a bio of keynote speakers, do your research, and instead of asking to pick their brains, ask them for specific advice. If going out for coffee isn’t an option, offer to bring it to them. Be prepared, personable and quick – and watch your connections – and caffeination – grow!
3. Create a low cost personal brand
4. THANK YOU CARDS
I know I’m not the only one who loves stationery. Seal your most genuine connections with a handwritten note. These connections may include interviewers, a professor or mentor. Remember to appreciate those who support you and pay it forward. For those who have a hard time putting a stamp on it, check out a service like Postable to automate this outreach.